Island Cricket

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sri Lanka a rabble as Hobart lashing looms | 'The Australian'

SRI LANKA heads to Tasmania disappointed with its performances on the field and in disarray off it.

The team, which lost by an innings and 40 runs, needs to find 16 more wickets from its bowlers and a lot more resistance from the batsmen if it is to worry Australia at the second and final Test which starts on Friday in Hobart.

At this stage Sri Lanka cannot finalise the side for the Test until it hears whether the board will take action against Marvan Atapattu over the opener's "muppet" outburst against the politically appointed selection panel.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene said yesterday he hoped the experienced 36-year-old would be available, but it was not his decision and he did not expect to hear until late last night from the board.

At the same time the side will be watching the fitness of star batsman Kumar Sangakkara who missed this game with a hamstring injury.

On the bowling front the team and selectors need to decide whether they will bring in Lasith Malinga, after opting for Chaminda Vaas, who managed 1-102 at the Gabba.

If Sri Lanka is to beat Australia and square the series it will be banking on a big performance from Muttiah Muralidaran, who is six wickets short of equalling Shane Warne's record of 708 career scalps.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting vowed to send the champion home without Warne's prize and said that he was pleased with the way his batsmen handled the spinner.

"For us to only bat once in this game is what you always talk about, you always want to do that in Test cricket," Ponting said. "I thought our batsmen were outstanding in the way they played not only Murali, but also the rest of their bowlers."

Ponting is keen for Muralidaran to capture his 708th wicket at home in Kandy in the first Test against England next month.

"I've made no secret that I would like to see him leave Australia without the record," he said. "We've done everything we can to ensure that and hopefully we'll do the same in Hobart as well."

Ponting dismissed as "ridiculous" notions that he had enforced the follow-on to deny the Muralidaran record.

The Australia captain said he had been monitoring Sangakkara training at the indoor nets during this Test and that he expected him and Malinga to play.

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